Category Archives: emily bett rickards

Arrow S02 E01: "City of Heroes"

We begin, as always, on the island, but much like how things are on Joss Whedon’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” nothing is what it seems. This isn’t a flashback, this is the present day. Oliver is on the island, yes, but Diggle and Felicity are coming to find him.

Some time has passed since last season. Well, obviously. Oliver ran away after failing Starling City and losing his best friend. His mom is now in prison, Iron Heights, and Queen Consolidated is ripe for hostile takeover by a company called Stellmoor International. So Diggle and Felicity have come to bring our hero home.

It’s worth noting that in the comics, the New 52 continuity specifically, Stellmoor International does in fact buy out Queen Industries. CEO Simon Lacroix, an enemy of Robert Queen, Oliver’s father, is also the super-villain called Komodo, one of Green Arrow’s rogues gallery. Notably in the comics, the evil archer known as Komodo also killed Robert Queen.

Speaking of comics parallels, there’s an opening for mayor of the city, a position Oliver Queen has held, and there’s a church and a guy named Blood in the Glades… it couldn’t be Brother Blood, and the Church of Blood, could it?

There are also more than a few name drops of Central City. I guess they are already prepping for the Flash two-parter in December and planned spin-off. Speaking of masked vigilantes, in the wake of the destruction of the Glades and the missing Hood, it seems others have taken up the slack. Roy Harper is one, a gang called the Hoods are others.

Genre and fan favorite Summer Glau plays Isobel Rochev, head of acquisitions for Stellmoor. As much as I like her, she’s unconvincing here, but I guess we’ll be seeing more of her. The returning cast is excellent as always, more comfortable in their roles, Emily Bett Rickards continues to be my breakout favorite, and Stephen Amell’s bare chest should still get its own credit.

“City of Heroes” is a very angsty episode. Thea won’t visit her mom in prison. Laurel won’t get back with Oliver because of Tommy. Oliver won’t become the Hood again. That last one is because of guilt, and Tommy’s calling him a murderer. It’s so good that they are finally facing up to that factor of this version of Green Arrow. I don’t like my heroes to be serial killers. This is a good thing.

Speaking of good things, the best part of the episode is in the last five minutes. It’s not just Oliver deciding on a new name for his non-vigilante hero identity. While Roy is out amateur vigilant-ing, he gets in over his head and is saved by a masked blonde in black leather. Could this be… the Black Canary?

Tune in next week, same Arrow time, same Arrow channel… for the return of China White, and rumor has it… the Bronze Tiger!

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Arrow: The Undertaking

About mid-season of the “Arrow” series, the powers that be finally gave a name to the master plan that the bad guys of The List had for Starling City. They called it The Undertaking. It’s never been clear what it actually was, but we know it has sinister implications for The Glades – the ‘bad’ section of the city, and home to Roy Harper, the Verdant nightclub, and the ersatz Arrowcave. One supposes by the title of this episode, we’ll finally find out exactly what The Undertaking is.

From all indications, we might just find out what happened to Walter as well. A unique flashbacknot to the island, shows us a meeting of The List several years prior. It seems their original plan was to blackmail bad people into doing good things, but John Barrowman’s Merlyn suggests a new ‘undertaking,’ leveling The Glades and starting from scratch. No Glades, no crime. And there it is.

And OMG, the thing that’s going to level The Glades is called the Markov device. Comics readers know that half-siblings Brion and Tara Markov are Geo-Force and Terra, metahumans with earth elemental powers. Brion was a hero who joined the Outsiders and later the Justice League. Tara was a teenage psychopath who joined the Teen Titans in order to betray them to… Deathstroke, with whom she had a very unhealthy and possibly illegal relationship. Wow. I’m guessing The Glades go in an earthquake.

In the soap opera zone, Laurel goes to Verdant to cry on Oliver’s shoulder about her break-up with Tommy. Felicity’s awkward walk-in may have sent odd signals to Laurel. Sigh. To quote one of my favorite “Simpsons” lines, “When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?” In this case, fireworks factory equals superhero action.

In a slightly more high quality melodrama moment we get to watch Barrowman tell of his wife’s death in order to convince Oliver’s father to go along with The Undertaking. It really the first time “Arrow” has given the man room to act. Finally. And we get a glimpse into the making of a villain.

In the distracting secondary plot of the episode (because on “Arrow,” the overarc is always the main plot), Felicity goes undercover in a casino to find clues of Walter’s whereabouts. As I’ve said before, Emily Bett Rickards’ Felicity cleans up real nice, but then again I like her in and out of nerd.

With no Diggle for back-up, The Hood has to save her, doing so like a bull in a china shop. I counted at least four arrows to the chest, one a woman, probably some of them only patrons to the casino. Once again, I find myself rooting for the police to put this murderous Bizarro version of Green Arrow away.

At first it seems that Walter was dead, and then alive. The Hood saves him, plowing through henchmen to get him, but first parachuting down onto their hideout from a plane. I couldn’t get past that. Who was flying the plane? Wouldn’t they know it was The Hood on board, and jumping out? Seems like a major loose end here.

Things are heating up and finally coming together. Oliver makes up with Diggle. And he admits to Laurel he still loves her. And, most importantly, he knows that Merlyn and his mom have been lying to him, and they are behind The Undertaking. The secrets are out, time for the real game to begin.

Other shout outs to the comics in this episode include Ted Kord for whom a fundraiser was held in flashback. Ted Kord was the second Blue Beetle. And Walter was being held in Bludhaven, Dick (Nightwing) Grayson’s old stomping ground.

Yes, things are finally heating up, I can’t wait for the next episode. As long as they keep tying up loose ends, that is.